Warrior Adventure Quest: High-adrenaline activities help Soldiers transition
May 31, 2011
By Tim Hipps
WARRIOR Adventure Quest is a training tool designed to introduce recently redeployed Soldiers to activities that serve as alternatives to potentially destructive behaviors.
The program combines existing high-adventure recreation activities"such as whitewater rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, paintball, skeet shooting, canoeing, skiing and skydiving"with a leader-led after action debrief developed by the Army medical professionals.
All of the activities are structured and monitored by morale, welfare and recreation outdoor recreation experts in a controlled setting, usually within 90 days of returning from combat. The goal is to prevent Soldiers from seeking high-risk adventures on their own by introducing them to safe, structured adventure activities, while keeping them surrounded by “teammates” who help ensure safety remains a top consideration.
WAQ incorporates resiliency training to help redeployed troops adjust to a calmer-paced lifestyle than the one they left behind. Experts said such psychological resilience-building programs help Soldiers recognize and respond to fear during combat and mitigate the cumulative effects of a sustained deployment. They help Soldiers mentally prepare to reintegrate during the redeployment, post-deployment and reset portions of the deployment cycle.
Soldiers who participate in WAQ are expected to incorporate team building with skills learned or reinforced during the program and walk away with a newfound passion for leisure activities that can enhance their overall quality of life.
So far, the program has served about 1,450 platoons, or 37,554 Soldiers.
An initial data check of nearly 10,454 Soldiers who participated in a WAQ program found that they were involved in 50.4 percent fewer accidents that resulted in fatality, or permanent or partial disability, compared to a similar-sized cross section of Soldiers who had not participated. They also reported 32.8 percent fewer accidents resulting in restricted work ability or one or more days away from work.
For more information, contact John O’Sullivan, the WAQ program manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.